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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 12:49 GMT
Climbers die despite rescue bid
Sierra Nevada
The bodies were brought down from the mountain by the Civil Guard
Three climbers have died in Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains, despite the son of one of the men trekking through the snow to raise the alarm.

Colin Riddiough, Paul Dick and John Plews, all from Teesside, are thought to have suffered hypothermia.

After finding the other members of his party unconscious, Stephen Riddiough walked to a nearby village to get help. Rescuers returned to find the men dead.

The men had experienced difficulties after a snowstorm brought cold weather.

"The weather conditions became so treacherous that they made a shelter for the night," said a Foreign Office spokesman.

"It seems one of them made it down and alerted the search and rescue teams."

Biting winds

When Mr Riddiough tried to rouse his 46-year-old father and the other two members of the party without success, he made the treacherous journey to the village of Capileira.

Mr Riddiough and rescuers found the bodies in a hole in the snow on the south side of the 11,414ft-tall Mulhacen, mainland Spain's highest peak.

Europe's second-highest mountain range after the Alps
Houses the Spanish mainland's highest peak, the Mulhacen
Temperatures can be 14C less than surrounding valleys
Close to the tourist spots of the Costa del Sol and Granada

A Spanish Civil Guard spokesman said the climbers had not been equipped with proper clothing and footwear.

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said the group were thought to have started the trek in the southern region of Andalucia on Thursday or Friday.

The bodies were taken to a nearby town for post-mortem examination, the Civil Guard spokesman said.

Mr Riddiough and Mr Dick are from Saltburn-by-the-Sea in Cleveland and Mr Plews is from nearby Redcar.

The Sierra Nevada, which has some of the highest mountains in Europe, is a year-round draw for hikers, climbers and skiers.

Temperatures on the peaks are, on average, 14C less than in the surrounding valleys.

This ensures that sub-zero conditions are a constant occurrence during the colder months of the year.

And, in addition to the temperature drop, biting winds bring an icy chilling effect that can cause even highly experienced climbers problems if exposed to the elements for too long.

Climb couple 'died from exposure'
21 Feb 06 |  Cambridgeshire

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